Here’s the third installment of my five-part, position-by-position look ahead at Cal’s 2009-10 team:
RETURNING: Theo Robertson, Omondi Amoke
LEAVING: No one
ARRIVING: No one
The Bears will attempt to operate with the status quo here. And I apologize for using the word “operate.”
A key for Cal will be how well Robertson, a returning starter and 13.1 ppg scorer, responds from surgery he’s undergoing today on his right hip. His doctors told him the situation is not expected to be nearly as serious as two years ago, when he required a microfracture procedure to rebuild his left hip, then sat ouf the entire 2007-08 season.
If things go as expected, the senior-to-be from De La Salle HS anticipates being on crutches for two weeks, then can begin rehab. That shouldn’t have any negative impact on next season.
Presuming Robertson is healthy by next fall, he provides the Bears a solid and versatile performer. Robertson is a conservative player, well-grounded in fundamentals and not prone to taking bad shots. Thus, he converted 48.7 percent from the 3-point arc for a team that led the nation in 3-point accuracy.
Robertson’s value includes the ability to slide over to the 4 spot when Mike Montgomery opts go to small. He is strong enough to rebound and play defense in short stints at the position, and is a capable mid-range scorer.
Amoke, a 6-7 redshirt sophomore-to-be, played out of position at power forward off the bench this season, and hopes to get the chance to move outside. This will be his first real off-season at Cal, having sat out the summer before his freshman year with a calf injury, and most of last season after a bad ankle sprain in the spring.
“We probably owe him the opportunity to move out to the 3 some because of his size,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got to evaluate where we need the most help. Based on his reaction to the end of the season, he seems really excited about going to work.”
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Bears have very little depth here, and it’s unclear how much or how well Amoke will play at the 3. When Robertson rested this season, Montgomery often replaced him with a third guard, which creates matchup difficulties on defense. Robertson’s good health is critical to the Bears.